this weekend, we took our six-year old to a big-box toy store to spend some gift certificates that he had gotten for his birthday. he wanted a skateboard. i liked the idea of having a kid that can ride a skateboard so we took a trip to toys ‘r us to spend his money.
as soon as we walked in the store, his eyes got really big and started wandering. i had hoped to make a beeline for the sports section, but immediately realized that this shopping trip was not going to happen as i envisioned. as we were walking (i mean, as i was pulling him) my son quickly noticed an aisle with dinosaurs and spotted a pop-up tent that was designed to look like a cave. on the package was a young boy smiling from ear to ear while playing with 15-20 dinosaurs around the cave. at that moment, my son decided that he no longer wanted a skateboard, he wanted a pop-up tent that looked like a dinosaur cave.
as the father, i had to step in. i’m smart enough to realize that this toy would get played with once or twice and never again – if it didn’t break right away, he would have quickly realized it wasn’t really that exciting (the dinosaurs weren’t even included). through some heavy persuasion techniques, i talked him out of the dinosaur cave and back to his original intent of a skateboard (that experience looks much better on paper than it did in the store, if you know what i mean).
i’m glad i was there to play the father-role and save my son from wasting his birthday money on that unwise purchase. i was above the situation enough that i knew, in the long run, he would find more enjoyment in a skateboard than a pretend dinosaur cave.
but this post isn’t about him, it’s about me… it’s about us.
it got me thinking… what about me? who do i have in my life that keeps me from making foolish decisions with my money? sure, i have more life experience and wisdom than my son which helps give me some discretion. but as i look around my house at all the things that seemed like a good purchase at the time, i can’t help but wonder if my house (and bank account) would look different if i had had somebody looking over my shoulder… playing the daddy-role… keeping me from wasteful spending.